I just realised that I am not entirely sure what the difference between Past simple and Present Perfect simple is.

The place where Michael Phelps was awarded/has been awarded eight gold medals has been transformed into an enormous waterpark.

The answer key says that the only possibility here is was awarded. Why?

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2 Answers 2


In this case, "was" implies the gold medals being awarded in a single instance unless modified by a phrase such as "over the course of his career." Contrarily, "has been" implies a cumulative effect in which the medals are collected over time. "Was awarded is marked as correct here because this pool was only used once for the Olympic Games.


Past simple tense is used when the writing or speaking has taken place all in the past. ie.

Michael Phelps won the 200 meter butterfly in Athens, Rome in 2004. There, he was awarded a gold medal.

Present perfect is used when the speech has been present tense, but you are saying something about the past. ie.

Michael Phelps is an amazing swimmer. He has been awarded many gold medals throughout his career.

  • But in this case we haven't been given a date or a specific event and it has also takes place all in the past. I am still not sure I understand why in my example past simple is the only answer.
    – Alister
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 20:45
  • @Valentine Could you add the original question you were asked into the body of your question? My explanation will be more useful if I know what you don't understand.
    – Travis
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 20:46
  • yes, I think I managed to do it
    – Alister
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 20:49
  • @Valentine The paragraph states "The building today is just as incredible", putting it in present tense.
    – Travis
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 22:47

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